Home > Tux Help > Tux Terminology > The History of the Tuxedo
All variety of fact and fiction surrounds the origin of 'Tuxedo'and the elegant garment that bears its name. It is said, for example, that the custom of the Algonquins was to name a place after the chief whose tribe occupied it, and that there was sachum named P'tauk-Seet, 'the bear,' who, in the 17th Century, ruled over a tract of land including what is now known as Tuxedo. The name is derived from combing P'tauk-Seet-tough - 'The Home of the Bear.'
Another version holds that the Indians called this area of lakes and hills, P'tauk/Sepo, or so it was translated phonetically by the Dutch in their initial land grants. Since the Indians had no written language, these are the best records available.
In written records dating back to 1754, these are references to Tuxedo Pond and later on, Tuxcito Pond, Tuxetough, Tucksito, Tugseto, Tucsedo, Tuxedo, Texedo and Toxedo. The Marquis de Chastellux, in 1780, writes it as Duck Sider and Duck Seeder. And in histories of the area dated 1857 and 1875, the name is corrupted to Duck Cedar with the explanation that the region is overgrown with cedar trees and is a favorite haunt of wild ducks.
The Lorillard family began acquiring land in the Tuxedo area in 1800's and by 1852, had come into possession of most of what had been known as the Cheescock Patent. They turned it into an elite hunting and fishing resort. With a labor force largely imported from Italy by Pierre Lorillard, they constructed a series of homes within the walled park in a matter of several months that stand today as a testament to the skill of the artesans. It was known as Tuxedo Park.
As the gilt-edged society of Tuxedo Park developed its own social schedule, some new names began to appear. For example, there was James Brown Potter, one of the founders of Tuxedo Park, who was elected to membership in the Tuxedo Club at the organizational meeting held at Delmonicos, in New York City in November 1885. According to the archives, Mr. Potter was introduced to the idea of the Dinner Jacket by the Prince of Wales, who later became Edward VII.
The first Autumn Ball, held at the Tuxedo Club in October 1886, is marked as the official first appearance of the Dinner Jacket. Then, it is said Griswold Lorillard and his friends startled the people attending the Ball by wearing a scarlet satin lapelled Dinner Jacket, without tails, while all others were attired in the traditional white-tie and tails. And thus was born the elegant garment forevermore to be know as the 'Tuxedo.'
The tuxedo was adopted by people rich and poor as the symbol of celebration, good times and special occasion. It was designated by the motion picture industry as its symbol for high society, class and elegance, and the tux even became a symbol of hope for better days during the Depression Days of the Thirties. And, it was defined by the tastemakers and standardbearers as the appropriate garb for those events in an individual's life when only a tradition of elegance will do.
Email this page to a friend!